How An Atypical Trucking Company Shows Compassion

When I sat down with Compassionate Atlanta a couple of weeks ago for lunch, I was asked “So, why would a trucking company want to join Compassionate Atlanta?!” I responded, “Well why wouldn’t we?!”

I began working at Millennium Freight Solutionslast June but I’ve known the owner, Alan Baran since moving to Atlanta eight years ago. For several years Alan was the president of the Kurdish Cultural Centerlocated in Tucker (adjacent to Millennium’s previous office) which serves the growing Kurdish population of Metro Atlanta and Georgia more broadly. There are roughly 250 families originally from Kurdish-majority regions of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. The center is a non-political, non-religious organization catering to young and old, men and women, immigrant and American-born, and all faiths (or none).

The idea of compassion—and integrity—is very important to Alan and Millennium especially in our often rough, foul-mouthed, fast-paced and highly competitive industry. Millennium retains many customers that have been with us for over a decade—a testament to the fact that we focus on cultivating long-term relationships versus making a quick buck. Millennium strongly believes in fairness, honesty and ethical behavior and we always seek to simultaneously save money while reducing pollution and carbon footprints in our growing fleet and expanding office space. We also voluntarily joined an EPA-sponsored program called SmartWay, which measures and assists in sustainable practices and freight efficiency.

We don’t consider ourselves a “typical” trucking company. I don’t personally like to even say “trucking” as it conjures up negative stereotypes which actually limits our broader logistics capabilities and services. We are a family-run business: Alan’s son and daughter-in-law work in the main office. We are very racially, ethnically, and religiously diverse: we employee other Kurdish-Americans, myself (I’m Jewish), and there are many ‘WASPs’, African-Americans, an Eritrean, Koreans and others under Alan’s employ.

In addition, we have a very unique daily ritual that surprises many.

Since there are only six of us in the main office and a dearth of healthy restaurant options in the area, we collectively decided that we would rotate cooking for one another (Alan doesn’t cook). Of course, it is a healthier option, saves money, and it also brings us together to sit down, chat, and enjoy good food cooked by our coworkers, our friends. We respect each other’s dietary restrictions: most of us don’t eat pork and I don’t eat shellfish (though everyone else lovesshrimp for some reason), so no one cooks either of these.

Originally a truck driver in Turkey and the Middle East, after Alan moved to the US after ‘winning’ the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery and came to the US with very little in his pocket. After several years, he was able to bring over his wife and two children and has helped bring over several cousins throughout the years. He continued on the same path and drove for a few companies. After saving enough money to purchase his own truck, he saved to purchase another one, eventually expanding to broker freight for companies.

Alan’s business grew from one truck and one employee (himself) to employing nearly 30, here in Atlanta and Millennium’s other offices throughout the country. Our fleet continues to grow, and last fall, the company moved next to Six Flags over Georgia, where it is able to spread out and have some breathing room in a large, three-acre yard/terminal.

Though he is reticent to speak of himself, Alan has personally helped many people both inside and outside the workplace as he is acutely aware of the hardships new immigrants’ face, which is part of the reason he hires many. Compassion is a very nice word but there are many synonyms as well: sensitivity, warmth, love, tolerance, and humanity come to mind. Millennium seeks to embrace all of these sentiments with its coworkers, employees, customers, and future clients.

Benjamin Kweskin

Sales and Marketing Director

Millennium Freight Solutions

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